I am a French developer, used to the French keyboard layout. Being a developer, I invested recently in an Apple international keyboard.

Having a french keyboard, typing in the tilde '~' character was quite simple since it was printed on a key as far as I remember, although I don't remember where.

Now with my new International keyboard, the layout is very different, missing accents and other special character (which is ok since I use that keyboard only for development on my mac) but I am facing the issue that I need to type in the tilde character very often, and I don't have any clue on how to type it in in a simple way.

(PS: To type in the '~' character, I am actually using the "character display pane" coming with Macosx, which is quite cumbersome when you need it often ...)

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    Note that for developers ~ is a symbol on its own and is different to the accent ˜ – mmmmmm Apr 8 '15 at 10:02
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    The best keyboard to type programming, and most european language is the Apple English or Apple US English keyboard, and not at all the international or international english ones. On the standard English keyboard, the [~] key is just on the top left corner below the [esc] key. All the accented characters are obtained with [⌥] key and the character on which this accent is the most frequently used. For example é is typed with [⌥][e], [e], ñ is typed with [⌥][n], [n], ü is typed with [⌥][u], [u]... – dan Aug 19 '16 at 7:38
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    If anyone got an Apple international keyboard when specifying it is for programming, then ask for a replacement, because the secret differences between the two is a nightmare for work (boot secret combo., frequently used characters: [`], [~], [\ ], [|]). – dan Aug 19 '16 at 7:48
  • @danielAzuelos - Not sure I agree with your definition/opinion of 'international english' - see support.apple.com/en-us/HT201794 for all the possible layouts - Other than the move of the tilde & backtick to bottom left instead of top left, all the other "secret keys" are right where you expect them... & frankly, I can't stand where they put ~ & ` on the US keyboard ;) – Tetsujin Aug 19 '16 at 8:28

The "~" key is located between the "left shift" and "Z" keys on the international english keyboard.

Many users are used to have this key under the escape key (the US layout), and they (including me) use the KeyRemap4MacBook software to swap those keys.

Edit: KeyRemap4MacBook is now called Karabiner. Here is a screenshot of the configuration I'm using to remap Section to Backquote key.

Screenshot of the configuration of Karabiner reaping Section to Backquote

Edit: Karabiner does not work on macOS Sierra, however a new project is in development: Karabiner Elements. As of now, it can do the replacement in question:

Screenshot of the configuration of Karabiner-Elements showing how to replace Section to Backquote

  • I was very sloppy with that one, I didn't see it or I didn't wanted to see it ... Anyway , thank you – yves Baumes Apr 20 '12 at 20:39
  • Note that karabiner don't work for macOS Sierra (10.12) for now. github.com/tekezo/Karabiner/issues/660#issuecomment-226942420 – Paul Brewczynski Oct 20 '16 at 9:26
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    I had to swap the order in which I followed your instructions. In the "from key" section, I chose grave accent and tilde, and in the "to key" section, I chose non US backslask. Other than that, everything worked fine. Thank you for this answer. – Lucio Mollinedo Nov 21 '17 at 16:54
  • note that karbine can mess "f" keys binding for intellij e.g shift+f6 (rename) isn't working – ozma Mar 28 '19 at 6:59

Option N -> space You actually type ã or ñ but on a space. Hope it helps.

  • This wasn't what the OP asked; same as the other post that gave the same answer. – Tetsujin Apr 8 '15 at 9:38
  • This actually works, is you press space key turns out to tilde – Sergio Flores Sep 20 '17 at 21:52
  • @SergioFlores You don't seem to understand the difference between ˜ and ~. It's only the latter that is wanted here. – Tom Gewecke Nov 4 '17 at 14:15
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    It probably depends on which keyboard it is but on mine it produces ~ with option + n and afterwards a space – rac2030 Nov 4 '17 at 19:27
  • @TomGewecke: No, this really does work: (option-n, space) produces ~, not ˜, on the Apple French keyboard layout (and many other Apple layouts). The behaviour with ^ (option-i) and ` (option-backtick) is similar: when followed by space, they produce not the standalone diacritic, but the ASCII character resembling it. – PLL Oct 11 '18 at 13:09

Apple French Keyboard Cheat Sheet

General sequence rules:

Shift Alt-R & then E gives É etc. ` then A gives À etc. Alt-R N then A gives à etc.

General sequence rules for `´and ~: French Keyboard for Apple Cheat Sheet for Special sequences and chords

Option N then space gives ~ then space gives Shift Option & then space gives ´

Option ç gives Ç

Option z gives  Shift Option z gives Å

Option y gives Ú Option ù gives Ù

Option s gives Ò Shift Option m gives Ó Shift Option ^ gives Ô

Option k gives È Shift Option k gives Ë Shift Option e gives Ê

Option i gives î Option h gives Ì Option j gives Ï Shift Option i gives ï Shift Option h gives Î Shift Option j gives Í

Option é gives ë Option ^ gives ô Option a gives æ Option o gives œ Shift Option a gives Æ Shift Option o gives Œ

Option ( gives { Option ) gives }

Option w gives ‹ Shift Option w gives ›

Option è gives « Shift Option è gives »

Option gives @ Shift Option gives # Shift $ gives * Shift Option l gives |

  • Oops, Option ` gives @ – Paolo Jan 5 '14 at 21:20
  • Oops, Alt-R in the above was supposed to be "Option". – Paolo Jan 5 '14 at 21:23
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    Welcome to Ask Different! Whilst this is useful information, it doesn't actually answer the question. Also, don't use comments to edit your answer — use the edit button and edit the answer directly. – grg Jan 5 '14 at 22:01

In Yosemite holding down many of the letters a couple of seconds gives a popup window that let's you choose one of various accenting options. For example:

enter image description here

  • That's pretty awesome. Thank you for that tip in Yosemite. But it does not really fit the initial question, right? – yves Baumes Jan 27 '15 at 9:27

Select US keyboard, use twice: Alt+Command+N

  • Alt command n does nothing at all on my machine. What are you talking about? In what app does this produce ~ for you? – Tom Gewecke Oct 21 '15 at 22:16

AltGr + 4 twice ~~ in Windows XP.


Try Alt+Ç, my Ç is left of the backspace key

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    The International English keyboard doesn't have a Ç key – Tetsujin Aug 19 '16 at 8:29

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